Top Texts for July 2021

Stephanie Hilder selects three of her favourite texts for KS2


by Kwame Alexander

This verse novel is in a league of its own. Sensitive but cool; fast but thoughtful; modern but timeless. It deals with themes of sibling rivalry, health, adolescence, loss and belonging – all within a family situation which is both ordinary and extraordinary. Dad is a retired basketball hero, mum is ‘a.k.a. Dr Bell, a.k.a. The Assistant Principal’ at the school where twins Josh and Jordan do much of their growing up. Put this book into the hands of boys aged 10 to 13 and you won’t go wrong. ‘This cat is so hip, when he sits down he’s still standing.’



by Radiya Hafiza and illustrated by Rhaida El Touny

Radiya Hafiza’s new take on three fairytale classics is refreshing, entertaining and necessary. Despite her kidnapping and cruel treatment by a wicked witch, Rumaysa has a fine spirit of adventure, an admirable sense of justice, and healthy self-esteem. When she meets Cinderayla it is clear that modern heroines don’t wait to be rescued and a hijab is handy for scaling high walls. There are palaces, princes and power struggles. There are also flying carpets, dragons and samosas. This is a fiesty and fun-packed, Disney antidote.

The Last Bear

by Hannah Gold and Illustrated by Levi Pinfold

The friendship between a small girl and a giant polar bear in this story, gently reminds us of the interconnectedness of all things and of the consequences of human activity on the future of our planet.
April is alone because her grieving, scientist father has moved them to an outpost of the Arctic Circle. Bear is alone because the ice-caps to take him further north have melted. This is a story about friendship, environment and rescue. As the narrative unfolds, the question of just who and what needs saving, becomes more tangled and thought-provoking.

Stephanie Hilder

About this month's reviewer

Stephanie Hilder works with teachers, schools and organisations developing English and assessment in primary schools. She is a big fan of RfP and enjoys swapping book recommendations with her (incredibly well-read) Teachers Reading Group.